A Capital anticipations list: Craftbar, The Borgata, Richard Davies, Cindy Sherman

Craftbar. (Craftbar Restaurants Inc.)
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Each week, Capital's editors and writers will offer a list of the events, activities, releases and personal obsessions that we are looking forward to during the next week. Here is a list of our anticipations.

Dana Rubinstein

Craftbar and HBO's "Luck"
Dana: I have very little planned for this weekend, which speaks to my seeming inability to fully recover from a lingering cold, and also, of course, my overwhelming desire to do nothing but watch good movies, eat bad food, and read. I am however, excited about two Sunday non-events: a brunch with my brother and his boyfriend at Craftbar, which offers reliably good food in reliably pleasant surroundings, and then of course, the next episode of "Luck" (which Seth Colter Walls has been recapping for us here). I seemed to have moved past my repulsion at the fact that actual horses have died in the show's making and onto a growing appreciation for the increasingly likable Dustin Hoffman persona and his brewing romance with Joan Allen's very innocent-seeming Clair Lachay, who's sweetalked a couple hundred thousand dollars out of Ace for the purposes of prisoner rehabilitation.

Joe Pompeo

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The Borgata and a Liberty Humane Society benefit
Joe: This week's installment is pretty straightforward: After work on Friday, me and some dudes are rolling via limo down to The Borgata in Atlantic City in advance of our friend's impending nuptials. Gambling, drinking and (I'd imagine) some gentleman's activities are expected to ensue. Sunday's plans are arguably more wholesome. There's a wine tasting at local Jersey City bistro Madame Claude Cafe, which means more alcohol consumption. But the proceeds benefit the Liberty Humane Society, which means helping homeless animals. ($20 in case you're feeling charitable!)

J. Gabriel Boylan
The Legendary Salon, Richard Davies, Johnny Cash's birthday, Baselitz at the Gagosian, Whitney's Biennial

Gabe: Tomorrow night the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is hosting a particularly fascinating event called "The Legendary Salon," which features works gathered from the famed musical salons of American heiress Winnaretta Singer, the Princesse de Polignac. Singer was heiress to the sewing-machine fortune, and at her mansions in Paris and Venice held salons for 53 years, amassing works, like those being performed, by Stravinsky, Françaix, Debussy, and Fauré. Vocalist Dina Kuznetsova and pianist Juho Pohjonen lead the talented ensemble.

A few old favorites play shows that night as well, Richard Davies got his start playing with cult band the Moles, went on to play in cult band Cardinal (along with Eric Matthews), and occasionally plays with cult legend Robert Pollard. He basically exists at the meeting point of chamber pop and power pop, and he makes damn good records on his own (cult or not), of which this song is my very favorite. He plays at the Cake Shop. Steve Wynn was in the severely cool band the Dream Syndicate, which ought to be reason enough to go see him at Bowery Electric, but it just happens he also continues to make stellar records and be cool as all hell.

Saturday the wonderful Glasser is playing the Ecstatic Music Festival at the Kaufman Center and Littlefield is holding an 80th Birthday Bash for Johnny Cash. Sunday sees the opening of the Cindy Sherman retrospective at the MoMA, while a Georg Baselitz show that I'm kind of excited about opens Tuesday at Gagosian. But as far as art goes, I'm most curious for what the Whitney will whip up for this year's Biennial. Always equal parts flashy, messy, funny, self-serious, self-effacing, and full of energy, it will be interesting to see in what ways this show feeds off or defies the New Museum's recently opened Ungovernables, a fine review of which you can read here.

Azi Paybarah

Epic rap battles of history

Azi: I don't know how I missed this, but there's a series of rap battles that's just bananas.

Darth Vader versus Hitler is the first one I saw and it left me speechless, and hitting the refresh button.

There's whole series of these battles, made by two comedians who relish what they're doing. The focus is more on parodying the personality of the characters (see Chuck Norris), rather than showing off any particular rap skills. But it presents something of a return to hip-hop's storytelling roots, something that hasn't really been realized (see R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet and Mos Def's Carmen)

The zingers against Vader are truly brilliant. The Hitler character: "You have the force to move objects, I am force of true evil / even went back in time and turned you whack in the prequel."

Another great one: "You think you're powerful, with your finger neck pinches? You couldn't even get your own son into the family business."

Vader vs. Hilter is the best in the series, although Macho Man Randy Savage's cameo is great, and Einstein vs Stephen Hawkins a must-watch.

The creepy Dr. Seuss portrait in his battle against Shakespeare is a brilliant and imaginative way to recreate a recognizable character for this new format.

And there's nothing I can really say about Abe Lincoln vs. Chuck Norris. I'm just waiting for the next round.

Reid Pillifant

Oscar Nominated Short Documentaries at IFC
Reid: I've made it an irregular practice over the last several years to see the short documentaries that are nominated for Academy Awards. It's always something of a grab-bag of subjects and styles, from the last surviving witnesses re-living the night Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, to the beauty pageant in a Colombian women's prison, to an Iraqi's mother quest to find AIDS treatment for her 10-year-old son--to name just a few that I remember vividly. The shortened format makes the stories feel urgent, in the way a good magazine piece might, and stacking four of them together in a two-hour program makes for a lot to think about when you leave the theater. It also gives me at least a small reason to be curious on Oscar night, which is mostly a mess of movies that I planned to see, but never quite made it to.

Gillian Reagan

The Oscars and Cindy Sherman
Gillian: The Academy Awards air this Sunday and Girls Write Now, a mentoring program I work with, is hosting a watching party to help raise funds for our spring reading series (if you can't make it to the party, you can still donate to the program here). It will be a casual affair, at P.J. Hanley's bar in Carroll Gardens, with drinks and some food. It will be fun to go and keep Sheila O'Malley's Oscar's scouting pool posts handy in case there is a pool. Go Melissa McCarthy!

Also, as Gabe mentioned, a Cindy Sherman retrospective debuts at MoMA this weekend. I'm not sure whether I'll brave the opening-weekend crowds, but certainly I'll re-read her recent interview in Harper's Bazaar, in which Cathy Horyn described her "weird galaxy of characters" as "the kind of people who come from out of nowhere and go right back into it" — buttoned-tight secretaries, dreamy ingenues, unsexed academics, narcissistic chicks, old hags, withered society types, even a Renaissance lady leaking milk from her breast." Looking forward to spending an afternoon with them.

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